I’ve only seen the milky way once. If I had to guess, I’ll never see it again. I suppose there are people who live in the middle of nowhere and see it often. Sometimes? Often? I don’t know. But. There are stars.
And there’s the milky way.
This is a night sky with clouds. I surely don’t have any photos of the milky way. “Out on the edge of darkness”, those are words from Cat Stevens’ Peace Train (1971).
It was cloudy for weeks on end, it seems, and I couldn’t remember the last time I saw stars in the sky. And the moon? I think I saw a pretty crescent around twilight a week or so back.
Thursday night, I shut down my computer and switched off the lights, and the patterns on my desk took me by surprise. The old familiar lines and squares angled across the wood. So bright it lit up the dark room. My response was something like, what’s that?oh, the moon. Then one of those feelings that come with a smile, like … oh, the moon.
My eyes followed the trail of light out the window and upwards to the almost-full moon high in the sky, shining bright behind the leaves at the top of the trees
It’s high up there, over 100 feet, and you wouldn’t think I could see the silhouette of individual leaves from so far. But I could see them, the ones at the top, the highest ones, reaching upward, and with the aid of a bit of a breeze, swaying and dancing around in the night sky. For a minute or two, the bright beautiful almost-full moon was right there with them, surrounded, framed, almost decorated.
Me? Well, I should not be surprised, should I, to see moonlight coming through a window. It’s a rather regular event. My days are full. I’ve got projects, plenty to do, exercise, walks. Life. And there are weightier issues, for sure. But this sameness, day after day, after a while, it dulls some kind of sensors in us. Well, in me, anyhow. Some strange malaise of the brain.
I looked out the next night. I guess I hoped to see the moon again. It was cloudy and I couldn’t see the moon. But … I saw a single star out a side window. Yes!
__________________________________ This is an old photo of mine from last year.
Sometimes I sit out back in the dark at the end of a depressing day, and it’s quiet, just quiet, nothing but me and the quiet.
Sometimes I see stars shining up there, far past the trees. But tonight, I don’t see stars. Just the tops of tall trees and past them nothing. Nothing but gray skies.
Sometimes I look up and see a flicker. Or I imagine a flicker. Like a firefly? It’s too soon, isn’t it? I remember the 4th of july when fireflies lit up those trees like some kind of magic. Like the magic that’s only real in memories.
Sometimes sitting in the dark listening to the quiet makes me think.
Winter’s not the favorite, is it? It’s a cold, bleak, spartan reality.
But some of us, a lot of us, we need these winter months. Like bulbs, or trees, we need a bit of cold. We need a dormant period. We need the winter.
I do a lot of fall photos. Changing leaves, pretty scenes, all the colors. Lovely.
But honestly, I don’t like fall.
Other painful stuff.
Fall leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Like I’m trying my best to hold on to summer, and it’s hopeless. Like I’m not ready, I’m stubborn. Refusing. Refusing to turn my head. To what? To what lies ahead, I guess. Like a little kid who won’t take the medicine. Mouth shut tight. The head jerks left, then right.
But winter to me is fresh. It’s snowed in and pulling on a heavy blanket. It’s sloppy clothes and old movies. It’s night-time, and it’s dark, and it’s sledding down a hill with nothing but worn-out bell-bottom jeans and a floppy piece of card-board between your butt and that cold frozen ground.
I remember the night I took this picture. The sea oats tempted me, and the ocean breeze taunted me. I wanted to see if I could capture something of the magic. The tall sea oak stalks, a soft ivory, bending against the backdrop of the evening sky. When I see this picture now, I see comfy shorts, a baggy cotton tee, vacation hair, and clammy wind. The wood gate swinging open, and a pause to consider if this is a good idea, walking away from the dimly lit planks, down the path to a deserted beach. Stepping away from civilization, alone with the wide stretch of sand and dark ocean. Scary and wonderfully invigorating at the same time. A minute or two when the rest of life was irrelevant. I didn’t wander far, but I tried over and over to catch the stalks in between back and forth. Futile, of course. I couldn’t escape the blur. A little blur for the feel of the ocean breeze. A fair trade.